Thursday, July 9, 2009

Goodbyes are tough.

Saying goodbye is never easy. Especially when it's forever. Try doing it long distance though - and it gets a whole lot more complicated. To place this post in context, I woke up one morning a few weeks ago to find myself forced to do all of the above for my grandfather. With the added heartbreak of feeling that even after a lifetime of knowing him, I never made the effort of getting to know him. I was just too much in awe of him to actually sit down and crack a joke or swap work stories or ask him how his day at court was... the little things. The big things.

So I forced myself to remember all that I could of him. To assuage the guilt perhaps? 

I remembered that the first thing he did every morning he got up was walk to the front garden and pick a white flower for my grandmother to put in her hair. I remembered that every time he knew we were visiting, he would drag a cane chair out to the patio and sit waiting for us to drive in through the gates. I remembered that when it got too hot in the sweltering summers, he would help us all drag our folding beds out into the verandah - so that we could sleep under the stars, soothed by a slow breeze. When we were growing up, he would make sure my cousin brothers learned the poetic language of Urdu from him in his room every evening... a romantic thread that still exists in their lives. I remember combing his hair with the new hairbrush my mother gifted him one day - and remember feeling at that time that this was a moment I would remember forever. It was the closest I had ever gotten to him. I remember the smile in his eyes when my parents drove over to his house to show them their first 'big' car. I remember the walks he used to take around the house. I remember how in recent years he became too feeble to even walk. Someone had to carry him in their arms. Of course he was frustrated. 

I found I remembered more memories than I knew I had. That I had a better sense of who he was than I knew. It isn't just the actions that he did that I remember... instead there is a clearer understanding of the person he was and why he chose to do the things that he did. And for that I am grateful. 

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